For the first time, researchers have established a clear link between family rejection of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) adolescents and negative health outcomes in early adulthood. The findings will be published in the January issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, in a peer-reviewed article entitled "Family Rejection as a Predictor of Negative Health Outcomes in White and Latino Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Young Adults".
The paper, authored by Caitlin Ryan, PhD, Director of the Family Acceptance Project and her team at the César E. Chávez Institute at San Francisco State University, shows that negative parental behaviours toward LGB children dramatically compromises their health. The discovery has far reaching implications for changing how families relate to their LGB children and how a wide range of providers serve LGB youths across systems of care. The California Endowment, a health foundation dedicated to expanding access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, funded the study and development of resource materials.
"For the first time, research has established a predictive link between specific, negative family reactions to their child’s sexual orientation and serious health problems for these adolescents in young adulthood such as depression, illegal drug use, risk for HIV infection, and suicide attempts," said Ryan, who is the lead author of the paper. "The new body of research we are generating will help develop resources, tools and interventions to strengthen families, prevent homelessness, reduce the proportion of youth in foster care and significantly improve the lives of LGB young people and their families." (The Family Acceptance Project focuses on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.)
(Source: San Francisco State University: Pediatrics: January 2009)